Monday, September 16, 2013

Rough Creek Death March...

The race on Saturday would be 3 13ish mile loops. I’d read race reports that the course would be exposed with little shade and to expect some crazy climbs. After upping my training the last several weeks, I wasn't expecting much more than just a finish to a really long run.

After getting lost a bit, we finally found the race location with less than an hour before the start. We got our bibs and began to get ready.

Loop 1:

Immediately, at the start of the race, I realized my hydration vest bladder had a leak. It was a slow leak, and my back and butt was soaked with Gatorade. I hoped that it was a slow leak and would not affect me much. Besides, I had no back up.

I ran this loop alongside Ace Gallegos and finished the loop around 2:40ish. We were running at a pretty good clip and were so self sufficient that we didn’t stop at any aid station. I began and continued eating something and taking an s cap at the top of each hour. About 10 miles of the course were pretty runnable with the exception of about 3 miles which had some crazy climbs. Looking back, I’d call them obstacle course type climbs. There were runners climbing the steep hills on all fours. We took about 10 minutes at the start before beginning our 2nd loop.  

Loop 2:

The weather during the 1st loop was pretty reasonable, and I knew it’d be getting hot pretty quickly during the 2nd loop. My buddy, Ace, changed into a long sleeve shirt and cap with flaps that he had submerged in ice water before starting the 2nd loop. I’d soon come to realize I should’ve done the same. Ace had an extra hydration bladder that seemed to fit my salomon vest. I quickly realized that it was a 2 liter bladder that was filled to the rim. I noticed the weight difference immediately but thought little of it.

7 or so miles into the 2nd loop, the heat became unbearable. I felt exhausted, dizzy and just plain overheated. My calves and quads were screaming from the hill workout I’d just put them through. I found a tree that had some shade and sat my butt down. I rested for about 30 minutes before deciding I wasn’t going to chance it any further – I was gonna call it a day.

My plan all along was to treat this as a long run…a 40 mile long run. Truth be told, I’m more  likely to do a long run if it’s a race. I’ve never been able to complete a long run of over 20 miles otherwise.

I told myself to keep my eye on the prize, Cactus Rose 100, and not sweat this DNF. Nevertheless, I’ve already begun making a contingency plan for CR in case the heat becomes a factor.

A special shout out to my 1 & only, Sami, for completing her 1st marathon. That day, the heat and course was too much for me…not for her.


  1. I met Sami early on. She caught me and pulled me back on course before I had a chance to get lost. Had no idea this was her first marathon; she was running strong and looking good.
    Congratulations to you also Ben. You made it through the hardest part of the race--leaving the pavilion to go back for Loop 2. That short paved section leading out to the trail was where the bravery happened. Go get your CR 100.

    1. Thanks & congrats to you also. I've always said the heat is the X factor. I'm glad my legs got such a good workout tho. It's gotta help. 3 days later and I'm still walking wobbly.